Rest is productive. Most of us who live in America never got this memo. We have become a culture that has tied productivity directly to our own value as human beings. It is a societal addiction really. And even though the pandemic has caused many of us to re-evaluate our work-life balance and potentially slow down, we still see this pervasive distortion. It can be seen in exercise, activism and even creative endeavors.
The Jenni Earle team had the absolute privilege of going to a day spa to celebrate a goal we had achieved.
At the end of our time there, I told Jenni, “I feel tired”….but then I stopped and reassessed how I was feeling and I re-stated,” no, that’s not it, I feel relaxed.”
Oh my goodness, I have forgotten what it feels like to truly be relaxed in my mind, body and spirit. Letting go of responsibilities and tending your body deeply for an hour, or day, or week is not only restorative, it is necessary! Taking radical self-care is essential. It IS productive. We used to know this.
Humans used to work alongside nature's rhythms to guide our lives. The seasons and daylight greatly informed how we behaved. We were busy planting, tending and harvesting in the warmer months, and then we rested and inwardly prepared in the winter months.
The cycles of death and rebirth are visible in all aspects of nature and yet, as we have become more and more detached from nature, we have disassociated with this aspect of ourselves as well. It’s as if our only boundaries are set by wifi speed.
I feel we must honor our own cycles of productivity. Just like the seasons, we need a dormant cycle and a period of rest before we can become active again. We need negative space, a void, a pause in order to think expanded thoughts and birth new creations.
We need to let go of the notion that we cannot rest until we have earned it. I submit that we must rest in order to reach our fullest potential.
Practicing rest could look like meditation, a nature walk, savoring a long meal, reading a book solely for pleasure, a short nap or simply and maybe most importantly...daydreaming. We love the quote from Toni Morrison that says “before stepping into positions of leadership and power, dream big first”. We have to give ourselves space to rest and dream as part of the cycle of productivity. Rest well and dream big trailblazers!